The Ticket

Condoleezza Rice fires back at ‘grumpy’ Donald Rumsfeld

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There's no love lost between former colleagues Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld.

In a question and answer session for the New York Times Magazine, former Secretary of State Rice is breaking her silence about the criticisms former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld made about her in his new book, "Known and Unknown."

Rice was asked to comment on Rumsfeld's assertion that she "almost never wanted" to dissent with President George W. Bush. She replied about Rumsfeld: "He doesn't know what he's talking about."

"I don't think he was ever in the room with the president and me when I would follow the president from a national-security meeting and tell him precisely what was going on in that room. We tended to do it privately."

As for the personal digs Rumsfeld made against Rice--that she was basically unfit for office--Rice decided to get personal in return.

First of all, I didn't have modest experience in management. Managing Stanford University is not so easy. But I don't know what Don was trying to say, and it really doesn't matter. Don can be a grumpy guy. We all know that.

During the interview, Rice also revealed that she thought Bush's intelligence had simply failed to come across to the American people, in part, because his self-deprecating nature prompted people to underestimate him.

Rice was also asked to address her rumored habit of never admitting mistakes. And true to form, she failed to name one during the Q&A.

Rice isn't the first cabinet member to be targeted by Rumsfeld.

In February of this year, Rumsfeld accused Bush's first Secretary of State, Colin Powell of doing a shoddy job handling the war in Iraq.

Powell "did not, in my view, do a good job of managing the people under him," Rumsfeld told ABC News' Diane Sawyer. "There was a lot of leaking out of the State Department, and the president knew it. ... And it was unhelpful. And most of it ended up making the State Department look good. We didn't do that in the Pentagon. I insisted we not do it."

Other cabinet infighting still lingers from the Bush administration.

A conflict between the former president and press secretary Scott McClellan has long been in the public eye. After McClellan left the administration in 2006, he published a 2008 memoir, "What Happened," which criticized his former boss and his handling of the war.

So how did Bush get him back? The former president completely omitted McClellan from his own memoir, "Decision Points."

"I didn't think he was relevant," Bush told C-SPAN.

(Photo of Rumsfeld and Rice: Gerald Herbert/AP)

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